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What does the Fox say?

We can count on our Hari to bring popular culture into our household. A couple of weeks back, he came up to us and said, “There is this song that is very popular at school. It is really annoying and it gets stuck in your head once you hear it. Do you think I can hear it, please, pretty please?” My first reaction was why would you knowingly inflict misery on yourself child? But then what do I know, I am not an 8 year old. Da and I listened to it and quickly researched to ensure that it did not have any inappropriate content. So was the song annoying? was it stuck in our heads? Why don’t you try it yourself, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Anyways, the next two days, the little child and the littler child were pottering around the house humming this song. As we were discussing Halloween costumes, Ram came up to us and declared, “I want a fox costume mama.” Do they even sell fox costume, I thought to myself.

A couple of days later I headed to Old Navy to check out their costume sale. In total, there were two costumes for Ram’s size – one dinosaur, and the other being, yes, a fox costume. Go figure!

Dressed as Mr. Fox and a red recycled bag hanging on his shoulders, Ram went knocking door to door for Halloween treats. We did the town parade last weekend, went to the center for trick or treating in the afternoon and did the rounds in our neighborhood in the evening. The child was super duper happy. I let him have 3 pieces of M&M, that’s it, which he obediently complied. He had so much fun doling out candies to trick or treaters who visited our house, and generally sorting and organizing his candies.

I missed Da and Hari immensely. Da has always been the one that does the heavy lifting for Halloween – buying candies for distribution, carving pumpkins, hanging out creepy crawlies, and parading the neighborhood with the kids. So needless to say, his absence was felt. As much as Hari was excited about India trip, he was very sad to miss Halloween. I have a feeling he will make up for it at Deepavali.

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Experiences

Scaredy Cat

A confession before I start. I have nothing against animals. In fact I find them cute in pictures, and believe that they teach us so much about the circle of life. However, I am terrified when they are at arm’s length. It’s a childhood phobia that has stayed with me.

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Breakfast done, Ram bundled up, we were just about to step out of the door when my eyes fell on the spare car booster seat lying next to the couch. An advice from David Allen that I had read yesterday flashed before my eyes. If something in your to do list is going to take only a minute or two , why not do it right away instead of letting it occupy your mental space for longer. A little voice in my head prodded, “what better time to make a change than now.” So I grabbed the booster seat with the simple intention of putting it back where it belongs, that is the car, as I drove Ram to preschool, instead of letting it taunt me every time I passed by the living room.

Mighty pleased with my determination to curb my habit of procrastination, I left the car seat outside, Ram standing next to it, and I standing next to him as I locked our front door. It was then that the drama unfolded.

Doors locked, I turn around and what do I see? A kitty cat sniffing our garage door. A little alarm went off in my head. Oh no, not today, not when Da is not here, I can’t call anyone to rescue me from a harmless kitty. I can’t even shoo him away because I have two little eyes (of Ram) peering at me, his first impression being formed based on how I react to the little harmless creature. I don’t want to scar him for life just because I am a scaredy cat (like the pun?)!

Just as these thoughts were swirling in my head, the cat takes a giant leap from below and lands himself inches away from us. A little startled, Ram asks, “oh no, a black cat, what do we do now.” Oh dear, not only do I have to overcome my own fear, but have to do so without instilling some in his impressionable mind. By now the cat was sniffing our front door as if wanting to take refuge in our humble abode. Feeling like a total hypocrite, I put on a brave face and played it cool, “Ram, he will stay here for sometime and then go away. He will not harm us. He is probably looking for his family.” That instant, all I wanted to do was grab Ram, take the car seat and just RUN. But…. what do you think happened next? The cat takes one look at us, one look at the booster seat, and plonks himself comfortably yet majestically, on guess what? why, the CAR SEAT of course….!

Leaving the car seat to the kitty cat, I drove Ram to his school chuckling away at the irony of the whole situation. A true real life Halloween moment for me this morning. Go on, laugh your heart out. Because I did!

As I am writing this, I am convinced that procrastination has its own virtues. Like for example, not being taken off guard by a cat.

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Experiences, Hari Katha

Safe travels

Rows of finger loom bands wrapped around his hands and neck, and his eyes sparkling brighter than the shiniest lights in the world, Hari left to India with his dad this afternoon. Both of them are heading back home to be part of celebrations – deepavali, ayushomom of little Rasika (Da’s niece) and poonal function of Vish (Da’s nephew).

Needless to mention, Hari was psyched and has been counting down. In fact, he was so thrilled that he woke up at the crack of the dawn hollering, “Amma, I am too excited to sleep. I feel very impatient. I can’t wait to go to India.” This afternoon he had a gazillion questions around fireworks, “Amma, have you ever burst fireworks? can someone die while using fireworks? will I like it?” He has tried his hands on fireworks, well sort of, so the experience is fairly new to him. You can imagine how wild his mind is wandering with the range of possibilities!

They will spend time in Hyderabad with Da’s sister and family and head to Chennai where he will have an opportunity to be with my parents. I am so very glad that the stars aligned and this trip materialized for them.

Here’s wishing the two of you safe travels. Come back with fond memories, fun filled experiences, and plenty of pictures.

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Memories, Milestones, Ram Leela

Celebrating Ram

The feisty little sweetheart of our house turned three years in the last week of September.

Since the beginning of September, Ram opened up any and every conversation with- “My b’day is in Sept. I will be three years old.” He was a trifle upset that Lord Ganesha was celebrating His b’day in his b’day month. Tears brimming, and too choked for words, he burst out “It is not Ganesha’s b’day today, it is my b’day! September is my b’day.”

When the day finally arrived, dressed in a t-shirt that said, “I am the b’day boy”, he went to school, grinning ear to ear. Cakes of all forms – pizza cake, pie cake, and what not, were offered by his friends from their pretend kitchen. That evening, we had a little get together to celebrate his special day. Cake, candles, and the happy b’day song was all the kid wanted all month long. The expression on his face as everyone clapped and sang the b’day song is etched in my memory. Beaming coyly yet lapping up all the attention showered on him.

It has been pure joy seeing Ram’s personality blossom this year. Ha, where do I even begin?

– Should I tell you about how he may be small in stature but his ability to stand up for himself is monumental in nature? What he cannot make up in size, he makes up with his vocal chords.

– Or should I tell you how he would stand in a corner, lips pouted, eyes downcast, and guilt written all over his face, knowing very well that he is at fault. But will NOT utter a word of apology. So much pride packed in this little person.

– Or should I tell you about how this is a kid who has a mind of his own? As I changed his diaper and told him, “Ram, it’s ok now, but you have to get used to going in the potty in a few days, ok?”, “No mama. If you ask me to do potty, I will say I do not like it.”

– Or should I tell you about how much I enjoy having him as my kitchen assistant? “I want to help you make chappathi mama”, “wait let me put the podi”, “I want to put thachi all by myself.” Suffice to say that having a three year old on the kitchen counter eagerly taking in the sights and smells enhances the cooking experience to a whole new level.

– Or should I tell you about the fierce bonding with his anna. “Come on anna, let’s fight on the bed” “give me a good night kiss and hug anna.” As he spots his anna in the soccer field, he would scream at the top of his voice in delight, “Hari, my brother. I see my brother.” What can be more special than seeing the the two people you love so dearly bonding with each other.

– Or should I tell you not to be misled by his shy demeanor? Give him some space and time, and he will be your best buddy charming his way into your hearts.

My heart becomes a pot of mush every time he comes over, holds my face in his tiny palms and gives a wet kiss on my cheeks. And sometimes just like that he comes over and asks, “I want a kiss mama.” Whatever he wants, he wants it then and there. Walking around the house with a sense of entitlement as if he is the master of the world and we are his humble subjects. We indulge him, when we can and where it is appropriate. Where it is not, we teach, preach and give him real life lessons.

Ram – it has been a while since your b’day but I did not want to let the occasion pass by without jotting down how much fun we have had raising you this year. You crack us with your silliness and tug our heartstrings with your endearing ways. You drive us nuts with your streaks of stubbornness, and you inspire us to be in the Now. We love you to bits and wish you fun and happiness as you grow up and make sense of the world around you. God bless you our little Pookie!

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